Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona, USA
Still owned by the Navajo Nation and accessible by permit only
The Navajo call themselves Dine, meaning, the People
At around the same time Chief Buddhist Priest of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto was brushing the character thought to best describe 2022, 戦, war, the actor Michael Greyeyes who played the antihero in the indie film, Wild Indian, was talking about how, even as Hollywood cast him in monolithic warrior roles, he played them from a native perspective, as a protector of family, rather than warmonger or even glorious hero. The courage of that warrior was something Greyeyes thought everyone could recognize in their own war.
Filmmaker Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. who wrote Wild Indian, said something similar, growing up seeing a war of a different kind. Speaking Ojibwe as a child and attending tribal schools on a reservation, to some extent he is still at war as he explains to the nonnative critic why a native filmmaker would make a film that wasn’t “uplifting for your people.” Replying that native peoples would be able to see the dark side of a protagonist and know that while there were some people in their community who had that side to them, there were others who didn't – a nice way of saying, maybe, that the Ojibwe knew enough of their people to be able to interpret one of many characters amongst them, and that, even if they weren’t riding a horse wearing a feathered headdress. They would instead be moved, as others in the audience were, that someone knew their war.
The community to which a person belongs, tries to belong, is torn away from or tries to tear away from, can be complex. So pleased to see diverse filmmakers who jump through the hoops of the likes of Hollywood cinema every day, and create live provocative cinema that portrays life from places we may not know. 2021, when Wild Indian came out, seemed like the beginning of a trend towards more plural stories in new genres with less familiar story arcs. Looking forward to more towards this end, and to trusting new filmmakers in their ability to move and change us.
Lots of thought-provoking cinema and content to watch during the holidays. <3